Record breaking ‘Ratatouille’

Opening week is biggest ever bow for a toon in France

PARIS — With ticket sales nearing the two million mark in its first week in France, Disney’s “Ratatouille” has broken box office records for an animated feature in Gaul.

Taking in nearly $16 million through 1,951,074 ticket sales on 721 prints, the average of 2,706 viewers per screen is the highest-ever bow for a cartoon.

“Finding Nemo,” another Disney/Pixar collaboration, sold 2,056,621 tickets for a take of $12.1 million on 893 French screens in its first week November 2003, an average of 2,303 cinema-goers per print.

Critics and audiences alike have been captivated by the film’s attention to realism in depicting Paris. And certain other quintessentially Gallic qualities have also proved winners in the tale of a rat from the countryside and his dreams of becoming a master chef.

“It’s been a long time since any film celebrated, with so much kitsch energy, France: its cuisine, its finest features, and Paris, capital of taste,” said the weekly “Telerama.” Daily newspaper “Le Monde” was even more effusive in its praise, calling it “one of the greatest gastronomic films in the history of cinema .”